Na Promotion of Pt/m-ZrO2 Catalysts for the Steam Reforming of Formaldehyde
The decomposition selectivity of formaldehyde during steam reforming was explored using unpromoted and sodium promoted Pt/m-ZrO2 catalysts, and the Na content was varied (0.5%Na, 1%Na, 1.8%Na, 2.5%Na, and 5%Na). In situ DRIFTS experiments during temperature programmed reaction in flowing H2O revealed that formaldehyde is adsorbed at reduced defect sites on zirconia, where it is converted to formate species through the addition of labile bridging OH species. Formate species achieve a maximum intensity in the range of 125–175 ◦C, where only slight changes in intensity are observed. Above this temperature, the formate decomposition reactivity strongly depends on the Na loading, with the optimum loadings being 1.8%Na and 2.5%Na. CO2 temperature programmed desorption results, as well as a greater splitting observed between the formate νasym(OCO) and νsym(OCO) bands in infrared spectroscopy, indicate greater basicity is induced by the presence of Na. This strengthens the interaction between the formate -CO2 functional group and the catalyst surface, weakening the formate C-H bond. A shift in the ν(CH) band of formate to lower wavenumbers was observed by addition of Na, especially at 1.8%Na and higher loadings. This results in enhanced decarboxylation and dehydrogenation of formate, as observed in in situ DRIFTS, temperature-programmed reaction/mass spectrometry experiments of the steam reforming of formaldehyde, and fixed bed reaction tests. For example, 2.5%Na addition of 2.5% increased the CO2 selectivity from 83.5% to 99.5% and the catalysts achieved higher stable conversion at lower temperature than NiO catalysts reported in the open literature. At 5%Na loading, Pt sites were severely blocked, hindering H-transfer.